Texas

Lessons from the BIAS Project

November, 2017

In child support programs, parents must often make complicated decisions with little information in a highly emotional context. The BIAS project, which applied behavioral insights to human services programs, worked with three states to design eight tests focusing on child support order modifications and collection of payments.

New Approaches to Serving the Lowest-Skilled Students at Community Colleges in Texas and Beyond

October, 2017

Faced with many applicants with very low math skills, community colleges are responding with a variety of reforms, including restricting developmental courses to students with high-school-level skills. This brief provides context for the policy changes and describes the alternatives two colleges offer to those who don’t make the cut.

Highlights from the Jobs Plus Pilot Program Evaluation

September, 2017
Betsy L. Tessler, Nandita Verma, Jonathan Bigelow, M. Victoria Quiroz-Becerra, Kristin P. Frescoln, William M. Rohe, Michael D. Webb, Amy T. Khare, Mark L. Joseph, Emily K. Miller

Jobs Plus promotes employment among public housing residents through employment services, rent rule changes that provide incentives to work, and community support for work. Within the first 18 months, all nine public housing agencies in this evaluation had begun structuring their programs, building partnerships, and implementing the model’s core components.

Interim Findings on Aid Like A Paycheck

June, 2017

This study examines whether an alternative approach to distributing financial aid — in biweekly payments instead of one or two lump sums — can improve outcomes for low-income community college students. After one semester, the policy reduced students’ debt and use of federal loans but showed little consistent evidence of academic effects.

Early Findings from a Study of the Dana Center Mathematics Pathways

May, 2017

A promising new community college intervention involves a revised developmental math course that emphasizes statistical and quantitative reasoning skills to align with students’ fields of study. In a random assignment evaluation at four schools in Texas, students report a qualitatively different experience with math instruction.

April, 2017

Communities In Schools (CIS) works to integrate a variety of support services for students to keep them on a path to graduation. MDRC’s evaluation consisted of a quasi-experimental study of the whole model and a randomized controlled trial of one of its components — case management for students at higher risk.

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